Police Arrest 3 Men in Suspected Bomb Plot
BERLIN (AP) _ West Berlin police on Thursday announced the arrest of three Lebanese men suspected of preparing to carry out a bombing. West German television said the U.S. military may have been their target.
The arrests came a week after police and the U.S. diplomatic mission issued warnings that Arab terrorists might be planning an attack.
West German television said there were unconfirmed reports a U.S. military cinema or a library used by American soldiers may have been singled out for attack. Police said the cinema and library could have been among possible targets.
A police spokesman said the three men were arrested Wednesday night in a West Berlin hotel. The men applied for asylum in West Berlin after crossing from Communist East Berlin on Tuesday. They had flown to East Berlin earlier that day.
Police spokesman Heinz Jaenisch said West German police received a tip about the arrival of three and had been looking for them. He said police were seeking a fourth man, the brother of one of the arrested Lebanese, who managed to escape.
″The suspicion against the four is based on the warning that Arab terrorists may travel to West Berlin to carry out an attack,″ Jaenisch told The Associated Press by telephone.
He said police found no explosives in the men’s hotel rooms.
Jaenisch said a West Berlin court issued a formal arrest warrant to detain the three Lebanese during questioning.
Asked to comment on the report by the ZDF television network about the possible targets, Jaenisch replied: ″They could have been the targets, among other things. But we have nothing firm yet, we are still investgating.″
He identified the arrested men as Hisham Abdullah Atie, 41, born in Beirut; Ali Diab Hamdan, 22, also born in Beirut, and Abbas Najib Aoude, 19, born in al-Khodr.
He said the man being sought was Hamdan’s brother, Jamal Diab Hamdan, 28, of Beirut.
West Berlin police last Tuesday issued a warning that Arab terrorists may be preparing to carry out an attack in the city. The U.S. diplomatic mission also warned private American companies in West Berlin of a ″higher state of alert″ because of a threat of a possible terrorist attack.
The warning came a day before the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall.
Suspected Arab terrorists on April 5 bombed West Berlin’s La Belle discotheque, which was frequented by American servicemen. The blast killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman and injured 229 other people.
The bombing was cited as the reason for the U.S. bombing raids on Libya 10 days later.